A group of California Tennessee Walking Horse breed registry members saying they are being told they must travel over 4,000 miles to Lewisburg, Tn., to vote in person on removing California Director Christy Lantis, who the group says opposes a bill in Congress to clamp down on "soring" of Tennessee Walking Horses.
Christy Lantis presently serves on the breed association’s Executive Committee as VP – Fiscal Affairs.
The group said, "Ms. Lantis was previously chairman of the Performance Horse Committee where she championed the Big Lick show horse which is subject to much controversy for being abused and exhibited in pads and chains.
The meeting to remove Director Lantis was set
for 9 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 3, 2014, after over 25 percent of the California members petitioned the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association (TWHBEA) to remove Ms. Lantis under Tennessee law. Ten per cent iis required to have a vote on the matter, the group said.
The group’s spokesperson, Fran Cole, an attorney and former California director, accused THWBEA President Steve Smith and Sr. Vice President Walt Chism of “oppressing the California members” by forcing them to travel to Lewisburg, Tn., to vote.”
Attorney Cole said the group was pursuing a plan to charter a “Stop The Soring - Free The Horses” bus to transport the California members to Tennessee so they could vote.
Attorney Cole said, “I have an elderly friend in a wheelchair who is a California TWHBEA member and wishes to vote. However, she cannot physically get to Lewisburg due to her medical condition, much less afford the travel expense. Shame on TWHBEA for treating a loyal member with physical disabilities this way.”
Attorney Cole said she "hoped a reporter from Los Angeles could accompany them and file reports along the way." She said the group would stop at television and radio stations to be interviewed regarding the soring of Tennessee Walking Horses and Middle Tennessee "being the horse soring capitol of the United States."
She also said that Tennessee media representatives along with music business celebrities would be invited to join the group on the bus in Nashville in order to show support, and then go with the group to Lewisburg to cover the meeting and the removal vote. She said she expects fellow Sound Horse supporters to follow the bus and caravan to Lewisburg.
Attorney Cole said, "We plan to make it clear what this backward looking Big Lick leadership has put us through in order for us to do something that could have been handled by mail – all in the interest of attempting to protect someone who is against the Prevent All Soring Tactics Act from being removed from office.
She said directors' elections are always handled by secret written ballots being mailed to the members, and the votes are always counted by a Certified Public Accountant.
Attorney Cole said, “Director Lantis was elected by written ballot and should be removed by written ballot. That's the only right way to do it. No TWHBEA election in history has ever required members to travel to Tennessee to vote. It's an international organization, after all. The only possible reason for denying us ballots is to disenfranchise members solely to protect an insider. We just want TWHBEA to follow the law and to act fairly towards its members.”
She said, “This is in no one's best interest, and I should point out that directors of a non-profit corporation who act with willful misconduct or gross negligence risk personal liability in addition to the corporate liability imposed on TWHBEA.”